But the pleasant thing is to wake early, throw open the window, and lie reading in bed.
- Edward Fitzgerald, from a letter to W. F. Pollock, May 3, 1840
But the pleasant thing is to wake early, throw open the window, and lie reading in bed.
- Edward Fitzgerald, from a letter to W. F. Pollock, May 3, 1840
Definition of Insanity:
Doing (watching) the same thing over and over and over again expecting a different result.
Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.
― Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies ( Picador, 2006)
Above Beachy Head in East Sussex, England.
So often we run from feeling and yet it is only through feeling that we can know the depth of life. Only through feeling can we hold the smallest shell or bone and feel the tug of the Universe. Such raw being aches, for, as the Buddhists say, the bareness of being here is so full. I wake with this rawness and watching you sleep, I’m stopped before I start. Before I dress, I lose why I’m going anywhere. Yet wherever the day takes me- pausing to hold the groceries with the old man who packs them or seeing the neighbor’s child at the kitchen table doing homework as I walk our dog or pulling over to watch the small horse breathe his cloud over the fence- everywhere this bareness illumines. With no way to that bareness but through feeling and the listening that feeling opens. Some say I get lost in this feeling, this listening. But only if I think I know where I’m going, only if I think I know what I’m listening for. Through this bareness of being, we refresh our openness and enliven our innate connection to the one living sense. Through our unblocked, sincere response to life, we can tune our inner person with the great mysteries.
~ Mark Nepo
A strong handshake is almost twice as effective as a weak one in transferring bacteria such as E. coli from one person to another, according to a study conducted in the UK and reported in The New York Times. A moderately strong handshake, in turn, transfers about twice as many bacteria as a high-five. A fist bump is even more hygienic than a high-five.
Related Post: Running with Howie
The best thing you and I can do at the end of the writing day is to stash our work gloves in our locker, hang our leather apron on a hook, and head for the workshop door. If we’ve truly put in our hours today, we know it. We have done enough. It won’t help to keep at it like a dog worrying a bone.
I forgot who said this (I think it was John Steinbeck in Journal of a Novel):
Let the well fill up again overnight.
~ Stephen Pressfield, The Office Is Closed
A whole lot of us go through life assuming that we are basically right, basically all the time, about basically everything: about our political and intellectual convictions, our religious and moral beliefs, our assessment of other people, our memories, our grasp of facts. As absurd as it sounds when we stop to think about it, our steady state seems to be one of unconsciously assuming that we are very close to omniscient.
- Kathryn Schulz, Being Wrong
Source: camels (Hump Day Call!)
Like an old dog
I slowly lower and
in a heap of sighs.
~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry
Image Source: Kingray
n. the awareness of the smallness of your perspective, by which you couldn’t possibly draw any meaningful conclusions at all, about the world or the past or the complexities of culture, because although your life is an epic and unrepeatable anecdote, it still only has a sample size of one, and may end up being the control for a much wilder experiment happening in the next room.
Related Posts from Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:
Yep, about right.
His name is Christopher Thomas Knight. He was born 1965. He was 20 years old when he disappeared into the woods in Central Maine. He was captured in April 2013 when he was 47. During his 27 years in the woods:
When he was asked about Thoreau, who spent two years in the woods at Walden, Knight dismissed him with a single word: “dilettante.” (def: dabbler, amateur, nonprofessional.)
At the very end of each of our visits, I’d always asked him the same question. An essential question: Why did he disappear? He never had a satisfying answer. “I don’t have a reason.” “I can’t explain why.” “Give me more time to think about it.” “It’s a mystery to me, too.” Then he became annoyed: “Why? That question bores me.” But during our final visit, he was more reflective. Isn’t everybody, he said, seeking the same thing in life? Aren’t we all looking for contentment? He was never happy in his youth—not in high school, not with a job, not being around other people. Then he discovered his camp in the woods. “I found a place where I was content,” he said. His own perfect spot. The only place in the world he felt at peace.
This story hasn’t left my consciousness for days. Don’t miss reading the full story at GQ: The Strange Tale of the North Pond Hermit.
Portrait Source: centralmaine.com
“I have, in my life, turned pages a million times more often than I have read them, and always derived from turning pages at least as much pleasure and real intellectual enjoyment as from reading. Surely it is better to read altogether only three pages of a four-hundred-page book a thousand times more thoroughly than the normal reader who reads everything but does not read a single page thoroughly, he said. It is better to read twelve lines of a book with the utmost intensity and thus to penetrate into them to the full, as one might say, rather than read the whole book as the normal reader does, who in the end knows the book he has read no more than an air passenger who knows the landscape he overflies. He does not perceive the contours. Thus all people nowadays read everything and know nothing. I enter into a book and settle in it, neck and crop, you should realize, in one or two pages of a philosophical essay as if I were entering a landscape, a piece of nature, a state organism, a detail of the earth, if you like, in order to penetrate into it entirely and not just with half my strength or half-heartedly, in order to explore it and then, having explored it with all the thoroughness at my disposal, drawing conclusions as to the whole. He who reads everything has understood nothing, he said. It is not necessary to read all of Goethe or all of Kant, it is not necessary to read all of Schopenhauer; a few pages of ‘Werther’, a few pages of ‘Elective Affinities’ and we know more in the end about the two books than if we had read them from beginning to end, which would anyway deprive us of the purest enjoyment.”
— Thomas Bernhard, Old Masters: A Comedy (University Of Chicago Press, 1992)
After a long absence,
I put on a record of Bach,
inhale the fragrant earth in the garden,
I think again of poems and novels to be written
and I return to the silence of the morning rain.
— Pier Paolo Pasolini
Source: themetapicture.com (bear cub’s first clam)
Late afternoon meeting. Location: Cross town.
83°F. Mid August. Sticky. Cotton dress shirt is clinging to my chest.
Take a Cab? Rachel suggests it’s 15 minutes point to point on foot. Cab? A crap shoot in cross town traffic.
I hoof it down 47th. Building construction has cut the sidewalk in half. 2 lanes, with a solid lane divider. No passing due to heavy oncoming traffic.
I’m closing the gap with a middle aged man in front of me. His head is down tapping on smartphone. My pace slows to crawl. I cut the gap to a few feet.
I try to pass on his right. Not enough room. I slow and trail behind him.
What’s the rush, right? Breathe a little.
He hasn’t lifted his head. Inconsiderate SOB is still tapping out texts. Oblivious to the growing conga line behind him.
Excerpt from wsj.com: “Have You Twittered Away Your Summer” by Danny Heitman:
“…As a veteran journalist, I’d be wary of following Twain’s example in disregarding an editorial deadline. But his larger point—that savoring the sheer joy of travel is more important than documenting it—resonates with special urgency these days, as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram compel us to chronicle every moment of a journey in real time. Can this kind of reportorial obsession destroy the very moment we’re trying to capture? Wendell Berry, writing a generation ago, thought that it could. In “The Vacation,” a poem published in his 1994 collection, “Entries,” Berry considers a tourist intent on faithfully recording his seasonal getaway:
Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which the sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. . . .
And so the poem continues, with Berry’s exacting traveler translating each fleeting moment of his sojourn into the comfortable permanence of videotape. He’s so busy filming his day, though, that he forgets to live it. “With a flick of the switch, there it would be,” Berry writes of this homemade travelogue. “But he would not be in it. He would never be in it…”
Read more @wsj.com: “Have You Twittered Away Your Summer“
Image Source: Travel & Leisure. Photo courtesy of @danielkrieger: Halfeti along the Euphrates river in Turkey
…after a long day, you need to hang out with your best friend
Image Source: YourEyesBlazeOut
He considers his latest film (The Giver), co-starring Taylor Swift and Meryl Streep, a cautionary tale. “I think it’s an impulse for human beings to want to suffer less, and we’re kind of addicted to comfort at all costs—at least I am. And of course comfort has a price,” he says. “So the film is asking…what’s the true cost of our comfort, and what are we willing to pay?”
What is he too comfortable with? Sitting on a long white leather couch at a photo studio in New York, Mr. Bridges holds up a half-eaten almond croissant. “I love taste, and I love the immediate gratification of flavor and that satisfying swallow you feel all over,” he says. “But I look at my body and I should say, ‘Is that really the most healthy thing for me?'”…
But leaning back and eyeing the last of his croissant, he says that he is constantly dealing with the idea of perfection. “Wouldn’t it be great if I stopped eating this and worked out every day?” he asks. “Imperfection and perfection go so hand in hand, and our dark and our light are so intertwined, that by trying to push the darkness or the so-called negative aspects of our life to the side…we are preventing ourselves from the fullness of life.”
He’s referring to one of his favorite quotations by the Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn: “…the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” Mr. Bridges interprets it as a reason not to judge other people. “You’re saying that guy’s evil, somebody else is saying you’re evil, and we all have that in common, but as The Dude might say, ‘That’s just your opinion, man,’ ” he says. “What I’m proposing is that we’re all connected, and we’re all in it together.”
~ Alexandra Wolfe in her interview of 64-year old actor Jeff Bridges
Read full interview in wsj.com: Things That Jeff Bridges Can’t Abide
Notes: NY Times Movie Review of The Giver
SMWI*: Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: memeguy.com
Related Monty Python and The Holy Grail Posts:
Source: themetapicture.com. Thanks Susan.
(Yet) another great piece by Mark Morford on the aftermath of Robin Williams death titled: A little spark of madness:
Was this really necessary?…
No answer comes. This is the beautiful, brutal secret of the universe. No answer ever comes. It just keeps dancing.
…Really now, do we not invent many of our own demons, feed and coddle them, manufacture and amplify and make them into unstoppable armies? Given the size of the population, our rapacious rates of consumption, the dazzling reach of the Internet and the speed at which suffering can now gain traction and travel, we have more potential threats to the stability of our psyche – both personal and collective – than we’ve ever had before…
But then, what of the popular Jungian notion that the dark side, the shadow is ever-present and ever lurking? What do we make of the idea that we are ever at the mercy of our own treacherous temptations and inherent flaws? What of the fear that whatever took down Williams is ever breathing at all our doors?…
What do you think?…
Read his wonderful perspective and inspirational conclusion @ A little spark of madness:
Credits: Image form Living in Maine
All good on the caffeine, alcohol and exercise fronts! (So sad on the latter)!
Caleb, his harem and baby Albino out for a walk on Hump Day…
Source: Benoit Cappronnier. Camels and baby albino camel taken in Massawa, Etritrea.
We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
~ Robin Williams as John Keating, Dead Poets Society (1989)
He takes everything, he says, more slowly now…”You know, I was shameful, and you do stuff that causes disgust, and that’s hard to recover from. You can say, ‘I forgive you’ and all that stuff, but it’s not the same as recovering from it. It’s not coming back.”
…it may well be down to the open-heart surgery he underwent early last year, when surgeons replaced his aortic valve with one from a pig.
“Oh, God, you find yourself getting emotional. It breaks through your barrier, you’ve literally cracked the armour. And you’ve got no choice, it literally breaks you open. And you feel really mortal.” Does the intimation of mortality live with him still? “Totally.” Is it a blessing? “Totally.”
- Robin Williams, 63, [July 29th 1951 - August 11th 2014]. RIP.
Notes: Photo – Tracylord
Source: Kristina Krause
The Lunchbox, winner of Critics’ Week Viewers Choice Award at Cannes 2013. A mistaken delivery in Mumbai’s famously efficient lunchbox delivery system connects a young housewife to an older man in the dusk of his life as they build a fantasy world together through notes in the lunchbox. They each discover a new sense of self and find an anchor to hold on to in the big city of Mumbai that so often crushes hopes and dreams. But since they’ve never met, Ila and Saajan become lost in a virtual relationship that could jeopardize both their realities. (Source: Youtube)
I don’t know when I became old.
Maybe it was that morning.
Maybe it was many, many mornings ago…
Life kept going and lulled me with its motions.
I kept rocking back and forth
as it threw me left and threw me right.
And before I knew it…
Steps for Longevity: A recent study has found that running for just five minutes a day, even at a slow pace, has similar health benefits to running for longer periods.
Notes: SMWI*: Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Image Source: gifak
Source: Atrocity Exhibition
Source: themetapicture.com (Thanks Susan)
A man got his leg wedged between the train and the platform while boarding a train in Perth, Australia on Tuesday. Crowds grew, watching and then pushed against the side of the train, tilting the train car so the man could free his leg. People clapped when the man’s leg was freed, and the train was on its way a few minutes later. The man’s injuries aren’t believed to be serious. (See full video here at ABC News.)
Image Source: 4gifs.com
It continues to haunt. James Joyce and Ulysses. Unfinished, brooding on my book shelf. I first discussed his book in a earlier post: Just Can’t Finish. Then I tripped into this video. Luck? I don’t think so. It’s time. Time to pull it off the shelf and give it another whack…
Larry Kirwan, 71, Irish writer and musician, on James Joyce:
Never once did he doubt his own genius, and God knows he had a awfully hard life. He became almost blind to his always broke, always borrowing. And yet he knew his strength. His strength for story, and words and music. I think we read him because of his music and his rhythms. Catching the soul of a person. And catching the inner dialogue, say in the Molly Bloom thing, you could never have met a woman and read Molly Bloom and know what a woman is about. He’s that strong a writer to me.
Frank Delaney, 71, Irish journalist, author and broadcaster, on James Joyce:
This is what he does better than anyone else. He understands the tiny sins, the tiny virtues, the tiny venalities, the tiny advantages that people will look for in life. And nobody else ever did that before and nobody, I would contend, has done it as well since.
She showed up here with a comment in March, 2012. How? From where? No idea.
She rings the morning bell at the crack of dawn with a dash of wit or splash of insight – softening up the spillway for others to come behind her. Gentle. Grace. Light.
I’ve had a handful of guest bloggers post on my blog. Don’t miss: The Final Act of Love
Her post was recognized by WordPress as one of the best of the day in “Freshly Pressed“: An Ode to Entomology
Here’s an excerpt from her beautiful post yesterday on the Eve of a Big Day:
Perhaps that’s it – I still believe in wonders. In fact I think I notice them more than ever before. Wonder in the breath of the wind, the intangible, unbreakable connections that tie me to those I love. Wonder at how much more meaning my days have now that they have fewer requirements to dilute the attention I might give to the sun on my face. And while I marvel, I also realize how tightly I am holding onto this life. How much I love the moments as well as the spaces in between, when I breathe in the absolute sweetness of being a part of it all.
Read more here: Suddenly Sixty
Happy Birthday Mimi.
Image Credit: calendar.org
Bellys’ down on Hump Day and bask in it!
Photograph: Jim Boud. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.